Ronnie O’Sullivan produced a strong performance to beat Judd Trump 6-3 in the first round of the Players Championship on Tuesday in Wolverhampton.
The Rocket had lost five out of the last six meetings with Trump as the latter gained the upper hand in their ongoing rivalry.
But O’Sullivan was always on top of this affair, particularly after a key third frame in which he managed to hold onto his early advantage with a break of 83 when Trump had been in first before breaking down on 52.
The World Grand Prix champion also contributed breaks of 127, 99, 90, 62, and 52 as he powered through to face Neil Robertson in the quarter-finals.
With Mark Selby not involved in this event, O’Sullivan could usurp the world champion at the top of the official world rankings by triumphing in the Players Championship this week.
Meanwhile, top seed Zhao Xintong crashed out at the opening hurdle earlier on day two, losing 6-3 to Barry Hawkins.
Zhao couldn’t replicate the kind of form that took him to glory in both the UK Championship and the German Masters recently.
But Hawkins scored well to take advantage, compiling five half-century breaks to reach the next round.
Yan Bingtao, who lost 9-0 to countryman Zhao in the Berlin final just over a week ago, was in fine scoring form too as he overcame David Gilbert 6-4.
Former Masters champion Yan made three century breaks and will be Hawkins’ opponent in the quarter-finals.
Finally, Ricky Walden continued his resurgence this season with a surprisingly one-sided and scrappy 6-2 victory against Mark Allen.
The last 16 concludes on Wednesday afternoon with defending champion John Higgins in action against Hossein Vafaei and Luca Brecel playing Jimmy Robertson.
(Times in GMT)
Zhao Xintong (1) 3-6 Barry Hawkins (16)
David Gilbert (8) 4-6 Yan Bingtao (9)
Mark Allen (5) 2-6 Ricky Walden (12)
Mark Williams (4) 6-3 Gary Wilson (13)
Ronnie O’Sullivan (3) 6-3 Judd Trump (14)
Neil Robertson (6) 6-4 Kyren Wilson (11)
John Higgins (7) vs Hossein Vafaei (10)
Luca Brecel (2) vs Jimmy Robertson (15)
Live coverage continues on ITV4 across Ireland and the UK, with other options around the world available.
Featured photo credit: WST